Game On – Are they taking the PS3?

Gaming No Comments »

We at the shelf don’t buy “the recession” as a reason Game On didn’t work. Games sales are still strong. It shouldn’t be a financial risk to put on a good show. I suspect that the people ultimately in charge of putting on Game On didn’t really understand the market enough to bring any confidence to the financiers. Who knows, though?

If conceived and marketed properly, a pure gaming event in the UK could be huge.

We recently looked at the pre launch hype surrounding modern warfare 2  and questioned the pricing of ps3 games and xbox 360 games.

Now we take a look at game events

A games event will never work in the UK because the people behind organising them hire Z list celebs with absolutely no idea about the inner workings of the games industry to promote these events.

Look at E3 in America, that’s how you organise a games event, or the Tokyo Game Show, or Lepzeig (spelling?)

The UK has still to latch on to the fact that to organise a games event you still have to put money behind it, not churn out some ramshackle damp squib that doesn’t garner any interest from anyone concerned in the industry, or any gaming fans alike.

Yeah, we want:

Early previews of games.
Early previews of new peripherals/technology.
Appearances and panels by the creative personalities behind the games.
Tournaments.

Tons of demos.

Free stuff.
Tie-in media such as films and comics that are part of the games franchises.

We don’t want:

Pointless appearances by minor TV celebs who once said they played Nintendo DS Braintraining.
Assumptions that we’re all into football, fast cars and fighting.

PS3 Slim Cheaper & Ready for Modern Warfare 2

Gaming 2 Comments »

PS3 slim and a price drop?

What a surprise!

I must say though that I don’t like the look of that new PS3 model one bit. It’s gone from looking like a sexy, sleek, high end gadget to random black box under the TV. The old one had style and character. This one just looks generic.

Although it does look kind of ugly, but, in my opinion, it doesn’t look that much worse than a black Xbox 360 or the original PS2.

I guess smaller is good for the masses and price drop is a great thing that everyone has been screaming for and will reinvigorate interest in the PS3 console. So good job Sony, for playing to your hardware design strong suit.

Finally the PS3 console is at a reasonable price and is in a position to really compete with the Xbox 360. On the flip side, Microsoft are upping the price of the Arcade SKU and are taking away the HDMI cable away from their Elite bundle (while, admittedly, there is a rumour of a price cut). And then you’ve got that rather unfortunate Game Informer survey which claims that the Xbox 360 failure rate is at 54 percent – and flawed though the survey may be, it’s still a scary number to come out.

My point is, this is an instance in a very long time where Sony’s been getting the good press and Microsoft’s the one getting the sharp end of the stick, instead of the other way around. And it’s about bloody time, too.

I am kind of bummed about the lack of backwards compatibility, though. My PS2 broke half way through me playing Snake Eater and I’d really like to finish that game someday. Regardless of what others may think of it, backward comaptibility is a factor that would encourage me to buy a PS3.

Modern Warfare 2

In the meantime the debate rumbles on – which platform will give the ultimate Modern Warfare 2 experience?

The anticipation of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is reaching feverpitch already and its not out until 10th November 2009.  Bargains are widely on offer and on this price comparison site we found Modern Warfare 2 for the 360 hovering around the £40 mark for pre orders to be delivered on the relaese date.

Firms Catching Pirates on peer-to-peer Networks

Gaming, Piracy No Comments »

Today I read of a couple who as part of the crack down on file-sharing, have been accused of illegally sharing computer gaming files after having claimed they have never played the game in question.

The case that was highlighted by consumer watchdog Which? described how a the two people contacted a local magazine after never playing Race07 by makers Atari.

Although the case was later dropped against the pair, Which? estimates that similar accusations have occurred against hundreds of other people in similar situations.
As discussed in depth previously on The Shelf, illegal sharing of music, movies and games has become a huge headache for copyright owners, and numerous solutions touted as the answer.

With estimates putting file shares at 6 million people, firms are increasingly getting tough on pirates.

At present game, music and film companies are actively monitoring peer-to-peer sharing networks, such as Gnutella, BitTorrent, and eDonkey, which allow copyrighted media produced within these industries to be shared.

The company in question, Atari, has gone so far as to appoint a law firm to prosecute people they identify as file sharers.

Once a user’s IP is logged participating on these networks, rights owners can apply for a court order which obliges internet service providers to hand over the account holder’s details.

I the case highlighted above, the stark warning letter sent to the pair demanded £500 compensation or a date in court.

“We do not have, and have never had, any computer game or sharing software. We did not even know what ‘peer to peer’ was until we received the letter”. – said one of the accused.

Online Gaming Piracy: How Bad Is It?

Gaming, Piracy 2 Comments »

On the back of yesterday’s article on Ubisoft’s law suit against OEM, The Shelf continued to dig to find out more about the world of online piracy in the gaming industry.

Online piracy has been a topic widely discussed in recent years, particularly in relation to the music industry. The case brought forward by gaming giant Ubisoft did however provide a rare chance to investigate further into the world of gaming piracy.

At a first glance gaming piracy doesn’t seem as wide spread a problem as that of music piracy. This could be due to the increased file size of game downloads that make downloading a little more difficult than that of music. It could also be due to sophisticated copyright prevention measures the industry already has in place. So is online gaming piracy a big problem after all?

If you ever wanted to know how many pirate downloads the top games are receiving then RPS (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/03/05/the-yarr-ts-piracy-snapshot-532008/) has compiled a chart of the most downloaded game titles.

Top of the list is Assassin’s Creed with 25734 downloads followed by Frontlines: Fuel of War (12688) and Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat (8792) making up the top three. The figures were compiled through file sharing site Miniova, and represent the amount of downloads made in a single day.

The full top twenty

1) Assassin’s Creed – 25734
2) Frontlines: Fuel of War – 12688
3) Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat – 8792
4) Dark Messiah of Might and Magic – 8402
5) Lost: Via Domus – 5883
6) Turning Point: Fall of Liberty – 5183
7) Sims 2 – 4026
8 ) The Club – 3672
9) Bioshock – 3489
10) The Witcher – 3121
11) Need for Speed ProStreet – 3061
12) Crysis – 2847
13) Conflict: Denied Ops – 2085
14) Neverwinter Nights 2 – 1893
15) Hellgate: London – 1750
16) World in Conflict – 1531
17) Stranglehold – 1459
18) The Orange Box – 1341
19) Age of Empires – 1099
20) Flat Out 2 – 1074

Top twenty UK games sales

THE SIMS 2: FREETIME
WORLD OF WARCRAFT: BATTLE CHEST
SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE
THE SIMS 2: BON VOYAGE
CIVILIZATION IV COMPLETE
CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE
ASSASSIN’S CREED
COMMAND & CONQUER 3: TIBERIUM WARS
RACE DRIVER: GRID
MASS EFFECT
WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR SOULSTORM
CRYSIS
MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR X
WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR COMPLETE
AGE OF EMPIRES III
MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR X DELUXE
AGE OF CONAN: HYBORIAN ADVENTURES
SIM CITY SOCIETIES
CHAMPIONSHIP MANAGER 2008

*Note* Sins of A Solar Empire – is absent, despite sitting #3 in the UK retail charts

With the download figures taken from a single days download activity it is mind-blowing to see how many time the top titles are downloaded.


“Call of Duty 4 has been on sale for 113 days, assuming day zero piracy. A seven gig torrent, assuming a 100k download speed, takes just under a day to download. Assuming that the rate of downloads now is constant across those whole three and a bit months – which is incredibly conservative, of course, as it’d have been much higher upon release – that means 993496 copies will have been illegally downloaded via Mininova alone. Which is the sort of number that makes Infinity Ward sad.”

The problem with discussing piracy with game titles is that it is generally agreed that each download it not equal to a sale lost, generally because or people using multiple torrents, meaning it’s possible that trying multiples at once to see which one gives the game first. That said even if a tenth of downloads converted to a real sale it would benefit the industry massively.

On RPS the point is highlighted that even with these conservative figures, with a game like COD4 released for 113 days, assuming it was never more popular than the sample day taken, it has been downloaded 993,496 times. Again assuming it stood at zero at time of launch. Plus, that’s through one single torrent site!

There is a discussion forum about the topic at bit tech for those who want to get involved

Ubisoft Sue Over Pirate Downloads Assassin’s Creed

Gaming, Piracy, The Interwebs 2 Comments »

As big fans of Ubisoft recent PS3 offering Assassin’s Creed, news of the games manufacturer suing US duplication firm Optical Experts Manufacturing for $10 million after an early PC version leaked onto the internet, was news that certainly interested us.

Ubisoft has claimed that USD was directly responsible for the leak that happened in late February 2008, six weeks prior to the games official release.

According to a report on Gamespot, OEM ignored security protocols which would have prevented the leak. The contract that Ubisoft signed with OEM apparently stipulated that the code for the game would be held in top-level security and that no copies of the game would be allowed to leave the premises without permission. It is thought that an employee of the firm took the game home and uploaded it to internet.

The source of the leak was tracked down to the house of an employee of OEM. An OEM-manufactured copy of the game was later found at the employee’s residence, though the suit doesn’t specify when that copy was found.

Ubisoft has said that the security breach is directly responsible for 700,000 pirates downloads of game, including 25,000 downloads in one day from torrent site Yowzers.

Ubisoft described the breech as “an extraordinary breach of trust and gross negligence”

It also became clear in the report that the copy released was not the finished version of the game, and as a fail safe included a deliberate bug for security reasons causing the game to crash half way through.

As the game was released a short time after the breech it is believed that numerous reviews were written on the pirate version, causing “irreparable harm” to Ubi’s reputation.

As part of the legal action OEM now faces the full wrath of Ubisoft’s legal muscle, and is being sued for breach of contract, negligence and copyright infringement, with damages and legal fees also sought for the three claims to the tune of USD10 million.

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